Friends carve niche in music business


Staff Writer

Darrick Bourgeois and Eric Slagle are not the typical 20-something guys.

They could just listen to music, like most people, but instead they are out in the world trying to get new bands a glimmer of spotlight in the music business.

Bourgeois, 22, and Slagle, 20, want bands to shine with their own Federal Way-based record label, RocketStar Recordings.

How Bourgeois began RocketStar was a couple of lucky coincidences and his love of music.

After believing he had been kicked out of the University of Washington for bad grades by receiving a letter from the university, Bourgeois went to look for a job and found one at the Seattle label, Tooth and Nail Records.

Later, Bourgeois found out that he didn't need to leave the UW. But he decided to follow his dream of working for a record company.

He also had luck in releasing a CD for the band Acceptance, which led Bourgeois to start his own alternative-rock music label, RocketStar.

Slagle's step into the music business was a coincidence just like Bourgeois'.

Slagle, who is RocketStar's manager, began with the label after making business cards for Bourgeois. He just never went away, Bourgeois said.

Slagle decided to stay and help Bourgeois with various business parts of RocketStar.

Slagle says working for the label is more dynamic than a regular job. It "makes my life more enjoyable," he said. "Everything is always new but stressful."

RocketStar has four bands signed, including the local Gatsby's American Dream.

"They will do anything for us," said Gatsby member Ryan Van Wieringen. "They are really easy to work with."

RocketStar's latest success is having bandsÂ’ music distributed by a major independent record studio, Revelation Studios. RocketStar bands have their CDs in Wherehouse music stores, Best Buy and Hot Topic.

Vique Martin, manager of Revelation studios, has a lot of confidence in RocketStar.

She said Bourgeois has a lot of drive. "He got quite a lot of experience working with Tooth and Nail," Martin said.

Bourgeois and Slagle have a great relationship with their bands, she said.

Bourgeois says that a main reason that bands sign with RocketStar is because of the distribution deal. Bands have a "good incentive to sign with us," he noted.

"We love every artist we work with," he added.

Right now, Slagle and Bourgeois continue to work day jobs besides working many hours to keep RocketStar running.

Slagle is a full-time student at the UW, majoring in business, and works at Best Buy. He also owns his own business, Eric Slagle Company, designing Web sites and business cards.

Bourgeois is a bartender in downtown Seattle.

Slagle and Bourgeois say they hope to continue their venture into the music business for years to come and have a studio to record bands.

So much for being the typical 20-somethings.

Janica Lockhart is a news intern. She can be reached at 925-5565 or by e-mail at

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